Hon. Ariel Belen attended Brooklyn College and graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in 1978. He pursued his law degree at Cornell University and graduated with his Juris Doctorate specializing in International Legal Affairs in 1981. Following graduation, he became a Criminal Trial Attorney with the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Division. Then in 1986 he was promoted as Supervising Attorney with the Criminal Defense Division. In 1990, he became Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel until 1990. In 1993, he became Deputy Chief of the Brooklyn Tort Division of the City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel. The following year he was promoted to Chief of the Bronx Borough Office at the Office of the Corporation Counsel Tort Division.
In 1995, he began his judicial career as the Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In 2002, he served as Justice of the Commercial Division, Supreme Court of the State of New York. Then in 2005, he became Associate Justice for the Appellate Term, Supreme Court, Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts until 2012. During that time, he also served as an Administrative Judge for the Civil Term of the Supreme Court, Kings County from 2007 to 2008. In 2008, he was appointed an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York.
He helped create the Kings County Commercial Division and presided as Justice handling complex commercial cases from 2002 to 2005. He co-authored the New York Trial Notebook which is an 850-page comprehensive trial practice treatise for the trial of a civil case in New York. He also taught newly appointed or elected New York judges at the New York State Judicial Institute, on the art of judging. He is also a highly experienced international mediator and arbitrator who is fluent in Spanish and can effectively communicate with Spanish speaking litigants and clients.
In 2019, Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County honored him as its Latino Lawyer of the Year. He is a founding member of the Cervantes Society and serves as the Co-Chair of the New York State Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section Legislative Committee. He currently Chairs the Arbitration and ADR Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. He works at JAMS, a private alternative dispute resolution company, where he serves as an arbitrator and mediator in complex domestic and international disputes in a variety of practice areas.